As MLB wrestles with reopening, one of its best pitchers isn’t having it — not unless he gets paid in full.
Blake Snell, the Tampa Bay Rays starter and 2018 Cy Young winner, said Wednesday night that playing for anything less than his full $7 million salary is “just not worth it,” citing safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic and already-in-place agreements to prorate MLB salaries if the game returns.
Add to that MLB owners wanting players to take an additional pay cut and Snell was steadfast in his objection, saying, “for me to take a pay cut is not happening, because the risk is through the roof.”
It all happened on his Twitch channel. Snell is one of MLB’s top live-streamers, having recently won the “MLB The Show” Players League. But he also often speaks openly to fans.
Here’s the entire video with his comments. Warning some NSFW language:
Here’s Blake Snell discussing MLB’s revenue split proposal this afternoon on Twitch. pic.twitter.com/CCyCai42Aj
— John Flanigan (@jflan816) May 13, 2020
Here’s the key portion of his comments:
“Y’all gotta understand, man, for me to go, for me to take a pay cut is not happening, because the risk is through the roof, it’s a shorter season, less pay.
“I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay? And that’s just the way it is for me. Like, I’m sorry you guys think differently, but the risk is way the hell higher and the amount of money I’m making is way lower, why would I think about doing that? Like you know, I’m just, I’m sorry.”
While Major League Baseball and its players union attempt to negotiate a deal that would restart baseball games in July, the stickiest point is the money. Because when is money not the root of the argument?
Players agreed to a deal in March that would prorate salaries based on how many games are being played. The owners reportedly want to nix that and go forward with a revenue-sharing deal that the players union sees as a version of a salary cap and a non-starter in these discussions.
But Snell isn’t even keen on playing for the prorated money. In a follow-up to his Twitch comments, Snell told The Tampa Bay Times that he would consider sitting out the season if he’s not paid in full.
“I honestly think I would see what my peers did and talk to my loved ones before I made a decision because I really do wanna play baseball and be around the family we have built here in Tampa. It’s just a hard time with a lot going on to make it even harder.”
“I mean, honestly, it’s just scary to risk my life to get COVID-19 as well as not knowing and spreading it to others,” he said via text. “I just want everyone to be healthy and get back to our normal lives ’cause I know I miss mine!”
This is a topic will continue to be divisive in the coming weeks. We’ve already seen the governor of Illinois criticize players and then turn around and apologize. Mark Teixeira said players should return for “pennies on the dollar.” You have to figure we’ll hear plenty more takes on this subject — and there won’t be one consensus point of view.
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